Respect for Life
Hello friends (and enemies too) it's me the ye olde Knife Coach coming to you once again. In this session we are going to cover an unusual subject for some players of the blade. The aspect I refer to is called the "Respect for Life" - Life you see is a sacred gift. It is so for all beings and must be seen as such, no exceptions to the rule.

Many fail to realize this detail and end up doing the wrong thing tactically and morally as well. Along with the ability of taking a life it must be counter balanced by also understanding  the saving of a life. In the world of hard bitten men who may pursue blade combat as a defensive alternative to the firearm this may sound rather feeble minded. Honestly it really isn't feeble at all. Strength can be found there.

When you learn the way of the knife you come into a very real, very deadly set of tools that can quickly dispatch an adversary to the so called promise land. Along with these skills must come a moral and social obligation to use them appropriately (IE: self defense, protection, etc). If such positive values are not instilled early on in the knife man's basic training then he is not a true knife fighter in the classic sense. He is instead an assassin, a common murderer and that my friends is a completely unacceptable outcome of our training.

To harm others is NOT why we train, in fact we train ourselves to a higher standard and that standard is to save lives, not take'em. I know, I know, some of you reading this are already at the WTF?-stage of thought. Just try bear with me, keep reading awhile longer before you deem me completely insane. (and even if you do disagree with me, it's ok. This is about you! I speak to no one else). I have an important message going out to the knife and weapon bearing people of the world. Especially those of extraordinary ability. The respect we speak about for the life of another (yes, even an enemy) is also a form of respect for yourself. See far down the road of life, see the greater picture I bring unto you (if you can). Outgrow your shell!

In the method of Kali in which I was so dutifully trained; I was taught to not kill the opponent if at all possible. Instead I was shown ways to bring them to a moment within the conflict that is known as the "Bargain" position. To know this element is to begin the long (arduous?) journey of the life saving warrior. Remember this wee tidbit too, any fool can bring on the death of another, anyone is capable of it. Man, critters, trained or untrained they can all be killers given the right motivation and circumstances. Hell, even some machines can do it! It takes a much greater skill though to conquer the adversary and allow them to live. To save that quivering, injured soul that's now bowed down before you. To actually show the truth behind the philosophy you believe in by returning the gift of life back to them... well, it's simply priceless! Yes, that really is taking the high road as you should (if, only if you can safely pull it off though). 

To "bargain refers to the principle that a man is worth more alive than he is dead. In the hierarchy of tribal fights and fighting methods this principle has proven to be quite successful for centuries. The term "FMA" refers to "Filipino Martial Arts". Yes, I get the idea and it's a good enough term to fill the bill I guess. But it's a bit of a misnomer it is. There is only "tribal fighting methods" (tribal fighting arts) in my humble opinion. To label them "martial" simply isn't a proper picture to present to an unknowing public. To understand the methods you must also understand their connection to tribal lifestyles and beliefs.

For instance if you kill an opponent outright his relatives will all come hunting for you. A feud can develop in this manner. Lives lost on many levels. For such a kill you get nothing but trouble, so it better be worth it. But to show compassion, understanding and real mastery you should bring them to the point of bargain. To hold that person as ransom is a respected route of post engagement tribal behavior that demonstrates the respect for life, family and the art. You can gain wealth in this manner for sure and if by chance YOU are ever lose the knife fight, then perhaps they will show you the same service by NOT killing you! Your family can now "buy you back". It's a trait that is karmic in it's own way and deadlier if you choose not to play. In this particular art which I personally practice we are shown several bargain positions and situations from which to draw upon. They like all of the material we teach are universal in their scope(s). They apply with empty hand, weapons of all types and they contain both application and counter within their respective formats.

The art of the "returning blade" that I spoke of in a previous Knife Coach installment mirrors this belief in karmic-like effect occurring. The opponent decides their own fate in such instances by either submitting or through further aggression. As a knifeman myself I must tell you that at this moment in the encounter I myself decide-do nothing. He (my opponent) decides his path - to live or to die and I merely follow the choice he ultimately decides upon.

Another example of the "Bargain" idea is "defanging the snake"..... a common tactic that is taught throughout the tribal blade methods of If you take away the snake's fangs it cannot hurt you and you may allow it to live. Defanging the snake is term that translates to most as "cut the weapon bearing limb" (incapacitate it) and take away their ability to do you harm and then to allow them to continue on with their life. They are wounded yes, but they are also alive. The alternative might have been to simply select a deadlier target than the offending hand and kill the person outright via major arterial damage or damage to any of their airway apparatus. This deadly level of combat would then have the probability of bringing about the demise of that aggressor in a very rapid fashion.

To learn the timing, accuracy and edge alignment to effectively defang an opponent in the heat of a full-on knife fight is harder than it first appears. But in attempting to follow this guideline you are also once again taking the high road of the ever mindful weapon bearing professional. Remember, others can and will let you down, but you must never let yourself down! That is unacceptable and is often difficult to psychologically endure. Never forget my friend that this whole thing is about YOU and no one else. The quality of you, meaning the quality of your character reflects in the quality of your art or method.

 It's a true revelation and it's also nothing new. The  sword saint known as Miyamoto Musashi proclaimed that his first rule in the method he espoused is "Do not think dishonestly" ! It is a good rule for men such as you and I to understand and to implement into practice throughout our daily lives.

In closing I'll say this: A knife man is no angel, but a good knifeman can respect life, law and liberty just as any other good man may. In all of these aspects the final judgement call you ultimately make is your own. These examples that I have supplied you with are meant to serve as a type of moral guide to help you on this path. They have served me and many generations of knifemen before me quite well. Give'em a chance. Thank you for your patience and understanding . I appreciate your reading this article and for watching the video on Youtube HERE. I'm the Knife Coach and I am proud of what you have accomplished! I hope to see you again!
Knife Coach # 8   TM